The North Sea is fighting back to meet the challenges of maximising economic recovery from the UKCS, according to the industry regulator.
Gunther Newcombe, director of exploration and production at the Oil and Gas Authority, told an audience at Subsea Expo 2016 in Aberdeen that subsea technology underpinned a lot of the improvements in recovery in the region.
He said the North Sea had reached an all time low of exploration and new discoveries by the end of 2014, with costs higher than any other region.
Newcombe said: “We are fighting back. Production was up in 2015 to 200m barrels and production efficiency increased from a low of 60% up to around 70%.
“But there were only 13 exploration wells drilled. We need to push harder on that. Positive exploration is the life blood of the industry for the future.”
Newcombe said the standardisation of equipment and simplification was moving forward – through industry working groups such as the Efficiency Task Force.
He added: “There are 3 billion barrels sitting in the North Sea undeveloped. This could be recovered by applying improved technology. The entire industry must work together to make sure opportunities are realised.
“The subsea sector is really very strong in the core of all this.”
Key to improvement was a change in behaviour and attitudes within the industry.
Newcombe said: “I do see increased collaboration across the North Sea with a joined up approach to delivering improvement.
“Particularly in the commercial arena, it’s very difficult to change behaviour. Sometimes we have to force people to collaborate. I hope it becomes a more natural thing.”